There is greater understanding on the cultural economy of cities and its role in the development of planning policy. Discourses on the nexus between creative culture and urban planning have been enriched with recent publications such as The Rise of the Creative Class (Florida, 2002) and The Creative City(Landry, 2000). What remains lacking are critical examinations of these planning models and empirical knowledge from different cultural contexts, particularly of cities in developing countries.
As Indonesia’s fourth largest city with a population of approximately 2 million in 2000, Bandung has a long history of local culture where a society involved in creative-based activities and an abundance of educational institutions have become its greatest asset.
With the decline in its textile manufacturing, Bandung began developing high-technology industries (aircraft and microelectronics) and more recently, information technology related facilities. Home to nearly fifty universities including Institute of Technology Bandung - the country’s most prestigious school for engineering, architecture and fine arts - it exemplifies the role of universities in providing human resources for various creative-based and IT-related industries in the region. The city has over 15 major art galleries and numerous independent studios for multimedia, animation and music recording. In essence, Bandung has the potential to play a major role in the cultural-symbolic economy, towards the true objectives of a ‘service city’.
The combination of creative-based cultural industries with information technology provides synergies that require the support of strategic urban planning policies. With this framework of understanding, this paper outlines the planning history of Bandung and development of its cultural industries. It maps the localities of creative activities and provides imagery on the spatial qualities of their settings. The paper attempts to explore to what extent these creative-based cultural industries generate urban development. Findings from this preliminary study, as part of a larger continuing research project, aim to inform future planning policies for Bandung and contribute to the discourse on planning and the cultural economy of cities.